Book Bits | 20 July 2019

The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats
By Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake
Review via Mother Jones
In 2004, as he sat before the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks, Richard Clarke famously declared, “Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you,” before asking for understanding and forgiveness. Clarke, a former senior government counterterrorism official, told the world that before the terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush’s team had ignored his efforts to get the administration to address the threat posed by Al Qaeda. (White House officials vehemently denied this charge.)
These days, Clarke is focused on another threat that the US government has been slow to confront: the vulnerability of the country’s computer networks.

On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane
By Emily Guendelsberger
Interview with author via
Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with Emily Guendelsberger, a journalist who took a temporary job at an Amazon fulfillment center near Louisville, Kentucky, in 2015. Her new book, “On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane,” describes that work, as well as several other low-wage jobs she tried.
At Amazon, she walked the equivalent of 16 miles a day through a giant warehouse. She said workers like her weren’t allowed to listen to music for safety reasons, but also because security might think they’d stolen the MP3 player. Guendelsberger first described her job as a “picker.” The following is an edited transcript her conversation with Kim.

Food and Power: Regime Type, Agricultural Policy, and Political Stability
By Henry Thomson
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
The relationship between development and democratization remains one of the most compelling topics of research in political science, yet many aspects of authoritarian regime behavior remain unexplained. This book explores how different types of governments take action to shape the course of economic development, focusing on agriculture, a sector that is of crucial importance in the developing world. It explains variation in agricultural and food policy across regime type, who the winners and losers of these policies are, and whether they influence the stability of authoritarian governments. The book pushes us to think differently about the process linking economic development to political change, and to consider growth as an inherently politicized process rather than an exogenous driver of moves towards democracy.

Can America Govern Itself?
Edited by Frances E. Lee and Nolan McCarty
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
Can America Govern Itself? brings together a diverse group of distinguished scholars to analyze how rising party polarization and economic inequality have affected the performance of American governing institutions. It is organized around two themes: the changing nature of representation in the United States; and how changes in the political environment have affected the internal processes of institutions, overall government performance, and policy outcomes. The chapters in this volume analyze concerns about power, influence and representation in American politics, the quality of deliberation and political communications, the management and implementation of public policy, and the performance of an eighteenth century constitution in today’s polarized political environment. These renowned scholars provide a deeper and more systematic grasp of what is new, and what is perennial in challenges to democracy at a fraught moment.

AI for People and Business: A Framework for Better Human Experiences and Business Success
By Alex Castrounis
Summary via publisher (O’Reilly)
If you’re an executive, manager, or anyone interested in leveraging AI within your organization, this is your guide. You’ll understand exactly what AI is, learn how to identify AI opportunities, and develop and execute a successful AI vision and strategy. Alex Castrounis, business consultant and former IndyCar engineer and race strategist, examines the value of AI and shows you how to develop an AI vision and strategy that benefits both people and business. AI is exciting, powerful, and game changing—but too many AI initiatives end in failure. With this book, you’ll explore the risks, considerations, trade-offs, and constraints for pursuing an AI initiative. You’ll learn how to create better human experiences and greater business success through winning AI solutions and human-centered products.